What if CRP Acres Increased?

ag trends. agricultural economic insights

by David A. Widmar

The Conservation Reserve Program (or CRP) has been in the news lately as members of Congress have called for an increase in acres. This was no surprise to us as we’ve previously written about trends in the CRP program and noted that conditions seem ripe for an expansion (here and here). Furthermore, former Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was quoted last year saying Congress would likely face pressure to “…rethink the cap on CRP.”

Given the latest CRP conversation, this week’s post takes an updated look at CRP trends and walks through a simple thought experiment to provide insights on what a reduction in U.S. crop production acres might look like. Continue reading

Global Beef Trends: China and Brazil Grab the Spotlight

by David A. Widmar

In late March, the beef industry was rocked by a meat scandal in Brazil that created concerns about quality and safety controls. Many countries, including China, temporarily halted imports of Brazilian beef while the scale and scope of the issues were sorted out. In light of these events, it is worthwhile to step back and reflect on beef trends (as we did a few weeks ago with corn here and here). This week’s post considers the global beef trends – including consumption, production, imports, and export.

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Where the Farm Income Boom Happened (and Didn’t)

ag trends. agricultural economic insights

by David A. Widmar

We have frequently written about the expansion and subsequent contraction of the U.S. farm income. While most of our previous work has focused on sector-level trends across the U.S. farm economy, we have anecdotally noted these trends likely vary at the local, state, and regional levels. Thinking about these variations, we previously looked at how changes in farmland values have varied across the country. To provide more insight on the variations in the farm economy, this week’s post considers state-level changes in net farm income during the boom and contraction. Continue reading